My boy friend thinks I’m slightly crazy. I have this habit of reading some awe inspiring books, and then implementing rapid change into my life to “improve” it. As you can imagine this results in some weird, but some times helpful things like starting to journal, creating a dream board, booking a random and overseas trip. This time I stumbled upon this book called “The power of less” by Leo Babauta. It’s not the first time I’ve read interesting reads that dabbled in this concept of choosing to having less.
I often challenged myself by imagining moving away from Sydney to somewhere remote (preferably warm and next to the beach) with only two suitcases in hand. Could I do it?
Well lets just say the idea is enticing but scares the hell out of me… I think I have developed my mother’s hoarding qualities.
Something in this last book tipped me over the edge though. Living with less is a book about a guy who was in debt up to his eyeballs. So much so he was at risk of losing the family home. You know what they say, when times get tough people get resourceful, and resourceful is exactly what he became.
He began to sell of things around the house. He cut back to only essential spending and with each sale, even if it was only $5 he put it back into paying off his debt.
I started to look around my house and my room. Remembering the money spent actually made me feel guilty. So many clothes and shoes I don’t even wear. Again this is a topic I have discussed on this blog a number of times, but it never occurred to me what to do about it. I always donated my old clothes to charity. But donations doesn’t make my money come back and it makes me want to still hold on to things I love, but don’t want to just give away.
Tip 1 sell stuff on the internet.
I never thought people would buy your old junk off the internet. As I found out indeed they do, they certainly bought mine!
My big-ticket items like gym equipment and furniture have already gone. The house and my room are looking open, fresh and clean. Each sale has been cathartic and I like what I am feeling with this departure of stuff in my life.
If someone else is using the things I don’t want or use, it makes me happy. Making some money back is a bonus too.
This concept of simplifying life is really relieving. In the end, in life it’s only you who has to be happy, its about doing things that are important to you. Figuring out what makes you happy and getting rid of the materialistic rubbish we think will make us happy but never does.
For me shopping I thought was enjoyable, but I have come to realise I do it when I feel anxious, lonely or bored. They are certainly not emotions of joy.
With this realisation I decided I don’t need so much stuff. Over flowing wardrobes do not allow you to use a variety of your clothing because you can’t always see what you’ve got. You end up wearing the same things over and over again because it’s easy to pick the first thing you see.
Last week I did the biggest cull of my wardrobe in my life. I’ve culled before, but this time I actually included things that I bought over seas, items I liked looking at, but never wore.
I don’t know how that even happens?
Imagine bringing clothes back from Spain, New York and Brazil, as prized possessions. When back at home they sit there in the wardrobe staring at you. Lucky I was never into souvenirs!
My next task is to take all these personal items to the market to sell. I’ve grouped them into $5 and $10 piles. But every now and then I’ve been sneaking back and picking out things to place back into my wardrobe because “one day ill wear that again”… it’s a frustrating process.
*Sigh* you must fight against illogical impulses at the best of times…
I’ve even toyed with the idea of living off the grid for a while. Living in complete isolation doesn’t require material possessions and it would potentially have a better view than my office window. Except, I like the internet too much. Maybe I could live off the grid in the amazon jungle somewhere and still have Wifi? Something tells me that would defeat the purpose though.
I discovered today the phase I’m actually going through is called “voluntary simplicity” do not mistake it for poverty. It’s about teaching yourself to be content with less, so you can do more with your life than just work for more crap to accumulate in your house.
I actually knew a girl once from the gym 35years old, who sold up shop and moved to a secluded beach off the Cuban coast. She practiced her Spanish a few times with me before leaving. I follow her on Facebook and to this day I am immensely jealous that she lives on the beach, doesn’t have to wear shoes and works only 4 hours a day in a local vegetarian café. Most of the time she spends her days sitting on the beach taking photos of the sun set.
I could do that, I just have to get over the anxiety of not living up to societies expectations to do all this stuff your meant to do.
And that’s all it is, anxiety and fear…
For now I’ve done the first step, down grading massively. I still have a lot of materialistic junk though, and my car, biggest bugbear is my stupid car. I love it and hate it all at the same time! Did I tell you it has leather seats? First time ever in my life have I had such a lovely car.
A long-standing dream would be to have no car and cycle everywhere with a cane basket attached to the front of my bike, like they do in Europe. Unfortunately riding from my house to the city with a girly bicycle would take me about 6 hours.
Car it is for now and I’ll keep dreaming.
My next step is to convince my boy friend to want to live off the grid with me in Costa Rica, maybe he can learn some Spanish too?